Monday, September 29, 2008
It's obvious now that I suffer from a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Give me a grey old day and my mood will turn a smouldering shade of charcoal. However, on a day like today: brilliant blue skies, verdant green grass, a gardening shimmering with promise, and the perfect level of warmth... well, I'm almost exploding with good cheer.
I've just been out watering my pool (as you do with curing concrete apparently) and realised that today is one of those, wow kind of days. Walking out the front door one's head is brushed with dozens of sweetly-scented wisteria blooms and everywhere you look the eye is assaulted by plants in ruddy good health. Obviously it's time for my next application of fertiliser - but it's stinky chicken manure's turn, and I've got guests coming for dinner on Thursday night. Guess I'll have to apply, water madly, and hope their noses are too dazzled by the wisteria and murraya blossoms to note the distinctly barnyard aroma...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Having friends over for a meal is one of my greatest joys. I love thinking of the menu, cooking it up, then relaxing with a glass over wine over giggles and good food. In winter, it's easy - slow cooking's the way to go. But in summer, lighter meals are called for. So I'm thrilled about my latest find. It's Cleavers Organic Lamb and my new love is the Butterflied leg marinated in lemon and oregano. Yummo. We had it for dinner the other night and it was delish.
When friends come around I'm going to cook it on the bbq then lightly slice it on the diagonal after it's rested. I'll serve it with a platter of salad and some crusty bread - with a bottle of rosé. For the kids I'll make mini burgers on teeny buns with little rissoles, lambs lettuce, tomato sauce and cheese. Perfect.
For nibbles to be served with champagne, I'll saute some slices of chorizo, roast and spice some chickpeas and marinate some olives. Because the children of my friends have exotic tastes, the kids also get olives and chorizo, plus some brie and crackers...
For sweets, I've got a hankering for summer pudding made with strawberries, brioche and served with vanilla-spiced mascapone. I might even top it with a little lemon zest (but don't tell my hubby, he thinks I'm a little obsessed with lemon at the moment...)
Friday, September 26, 2008
I have a deep, and almost unnatural love for cocktails. They're glamorous and often dangerous - and can't be knocked back quickly. I've realised how deep my affection runs when I thought about the two songs that most often cause me to break out a tune. Some people like to doodle, I like to sing, and when I like the sing, the songs I like to sing are: Don't You Want Me by Human League and Copacabana by Mr Manilow... Note the theme here?
Opening like of Don't You Want Me, "She was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar" and for Copacabana "Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl". Now it's pretty hard to imagine that someone with yellow feathers in her hair didn't knock back the odd Manhattan or five - in my mind she does. Other songs may come and go, but these two, with their imagery of mixed drinks of the elegant kind, will forever hold a place in my heart - and shower stall...
That said I'm off to a cocktail party on the weekend. I mayn't have yellow feathers to wear in my hair, but I do have pretty nails in Kiss Me Coral that'll entwine nicely around the stem of a glass. Cheers dears...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Miss Betsey Johnson, you've made a mighty purdy pair of heels here. I particularly like the pink sole which is a nice alternative to the on-every-starlet's-foot Louboutin. I do believe that a black tulle skirt would be the perfect accessory for this shoe of the week.
It's true that manners are social lubrication. I love me a well mannered lad or lass. Not faux well-mannered in the "How do you do?" way, but a way that shows me that people care. I get cranky when I see ill-manners. I cannot abide those who stand chatting on their mobiles while they're getting served in a store - if it's so important step outside! I do believe that everyone should have to work in a store or a cafe at some stage - I did, and having walked in those shoes I have the ultimate respect for these people. I'll also be encouraging our daughter to work in a cafe or shop as soon as she's old enough - which will serve a double purpose - gaining independence and an income and learning a little about human nature.
Monday, September 22, 2008
To celebrate spring I ditched the cozy flannelette sheets for crisp white cotton yesterday. I love a ritual, particularly one that celebrates a season. We don't seem to have enough rituals in Oz, so I'm v envious of my friends in the US who not only get Thanksgiving, but Halloween too. I'd like to make every week thanksgiving. Counting your blessings is the quickest path to happiness. I'm also thinking of hosting a small Halloween soiree for my daughter this year. C'mon, who can resist little orange cupcakes decorated with black spiders? Not this little black duck that's for sure.
I've been lucky to make some really wonderful friends over the years (balanced out with some dead-crap ones mind). It's got me thinking about what a good friend is. Friends should balance you out, bring out your good side, and help tame the dodgy side. Friends should make you laugh and make you feel fabulous. You should have friends for different occasions: phone friends, cocktail friends, dinner friends, email friends... and the new category, blog friends. I love how I can log onto a blog and get a little insight into what someone's doing and why. It's kind of like how I love wandering the streets at dusk, peering into windows to see what's going on in other worlds - how they've decorated, what they're eating... I know, only slightly peeping Tom.
I most admire my friends who are good at maintaining friendships (yes, I'm talking about you again M!). Thank goodness for email and facebook, otherwise life would zoom past me and before I knew it, it would be years before I caught up with some friends. I also love friends who are good at asking questions and who genuinely seem to care about others. I'm trying to bring that quality out in myself although it goes against my upbringing and being warned not to pry...
I'm going to treat my friends like a delicious sponge cake. Feed them all the right ingredients, carefully nurture them, then dive in and enjoy them.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I had my first sip of a frosty cold shot of limoncello right about here. This is the terrazza of the Ristoro Di Lomole and on the same night I tried fresh, black truffles shaved over creamy gnocchi.
After dinner we were walking back to our cars when our eyes were dazzled by dozens of fireflies. I'd only read of these magical creatures before and at first sight was in awe of their fairylike charm.
What's the point of jealousy? It's such an insidious vice. I don't do jealousy. Envy? Hell yeah. I envy my best friend's gorgeousness and amazing style. Since the first day I saw her at Uni I envied how well she could put together the most incredible clothing and always look stunning and unique. She still does. I'm also dead-envious of the fact that she can dye her hair bright red - my fave hair hue. Envious? Yup. Jealous? Nope.
We also have friends who jet off to Paris every year and boy, that pushes my envy button. But I'm not jealous - I'm thrilled that they get to do this (particularly 'cause they bring me back violet food treats!)
Which is why I'm always startled when I see people who are jealous. It's destructive and I reckon it causes mean wrinkles that even Kidman-strength botox couldn't eradicate. Vive la difference, live and let live, que sera sera... so many songs sum up how I feel about this topic. But I guess that deep down, while my wardrobe will disagree, green's not my colour.
I've made nearly 250 posts (I have conflicting info here - thanks blogger) since starting this wee bloggy a while back, and I've still yet to decide on a theme. I guess it's because I'm doing this for fun, and to hopefully ensure a few people get a giggle, swoon over a pair of shoes or try something different today.
Just like an athlete needs to warm up before getting into the serious stuff, that's how I see this blog - as stretching my writing muscles. I need to warm up before getting into the stuff I get paid for... and it works. I've never been one to keep a journal although I love the romance of the idea. Hopefully this blog is stretching me to try new things and learn to share more of myself - I've always been crap at that.
These days I'm big on experiences. Show me something new and I'll give it a shot. So this weekend, I'm fetching to try something completely different... I just don't know what it is yet. It's gotta be achievable, cheap (or free, my bank balance is groaning) and fun. I'll let you know what I got up to if you let me in on your secrets too
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Since signing up for gmail I've become so incredibly lucky. Every single day is like winning the lottery - which apparently I have in the UK, Ireland and sometimes even the United States. Nice.
Not only that, but I've also become the beneficiary of quite a few estates which is handy considering my rampant shoe addiction.
And loans? I'll have money spilling from my ears at this rate - people are positively falling over themselves to give me money. I no longer need to sing, "If I had a little money..." 'cause now I'm part of this rich man's world.
However, for some reason the emails seem to be filed under a section previously reserved for a spiced luncheon meat...
The first time I checked out lol cats I was obviously in a mood - I just didn't get it. Now, oh, now... I can haz cheezburger is totally saving my sanity. Whenever I'm in the mood for a quick giggle I'll choose a page at random and snickers will result. I've already watched the ninja cat video from You Tube, oh, I don't know, around 10 times, and it delights me every single viewing. No wonder people become crazy cat people, they're funny critters those kittehs.
And that angel would have been wearing these shoes. Oh I want these so badly it hurts... Can't say I've heard of Charlotte Olympia in the shoe design arena before, but that little lady's fought some mighty big lions to gain today's top spot. You likee?
In some ways I'm a fake it till you make it gal. My hair's ebony hue comes from a bottle every few weeks, and there's nothing I love more than slapping on the make-up for a big night out. But the one thing I don't understand is fake designer stuff. I was sitting on the train yesterday behind a woman in a shell suit, her hair tied up in a Scrunchie, with a "Louis Vuitton" handbag. Um, I don't think so...
I still can't come to terms with shelling out for a fake.
I nearly wept when I heard there is a fake Tiffany in Thailand. Fake Tiffany!!! What would Audrey say?
When we were in Rome (what, me, namedropping???) there were lines of gorgeous Nigerian men selling fakes along the lines to the Vatican, and to kill time (it was an hour and a half wait to see the Sistene Chapel, a girl gets bored) I glanced over at the bags. It was so sad to see faux Chanel, Dior and the ubiquitous Vuitton spread out on a blanket on the ground. However, my eye was caught by one pretty floral number. I kept glancing over and noted it didn't have any gigantic label emblazoned on it, it just looked like a pretty white, floral bag. This is where I made my fatal mistake and caught the guy's eye. "Pretty bag, you want pretty bag?" "Um, not really... well, how much is it?" Zing! "Fifty euros, special price, for you!"
That's when I thought about it, do I really want to spend that much money on a fraudulent bag. Nope. But guess how easily my bag seller gave up? At various points along the line, he'd pop over saying "Forty euros - because you beautiful lady", then "thirty eight, special price, today only..." I was exhausted by the time we reached the Chapel, but managed to soothe myself by gazing up, down and all around at the stunning art.
Walking out, who comes running? Yep, bag man. My bag's now only 15 euros... I gave him some money for his troubles, and sent him on his way.
Monday, September 15, 2008
What's more fun than a girly get-together? Summer frocks, champagne, giggles and nibbles are the perfect ingredients for a successful night out. We're christening the gorgeous Nicola's new pad and I can't wait to peek inside.
Hopefully this unseasonably warm weather will continue and we'll be sipping bubbles in the courtyard until way after sunset. The moon's pretty full too, so it'll cast a flattering glow over all our faces - and who doesn't love that?
Guess what movie was on foxtel last night (but I missed 'cause I was dancing with the stars instead)? Pretty In Pink! Ah Molly, I do believe that she was my first strawberry blonde crush. Oh, and her car! I must say though, I'd always go for the funky boy over the pretty, bland boy...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
This is almost a cocktail-eye view of our pool-to-be. Standing here, you'll have just walked up the stairs into the pool house/pavillion/cabana... But whatever you call it, you'll probably have a cocktail in hand and be itching to dive into the azure waters.
Paris is filled with these beauties, and every single one made my heart sing. My gorgeous girl couldn't resist a twirl either.
This here's one that still makes my heart skip a beat. It's a two storey carousel at the foot of the dazzling white church that kisses the sky at the top of Paris.
Carousels in Australia have always let me down. For a start, the horsies never go up and down... probably due to fear of litigation should a child fall from grace.
However, in Paris, the subtle, muted beauties eternally enchant children, and the young at heart.
It's rare for me to meet a cocktail I don't like. That said, I can always pass up on a sweet cocktail (although maybe for dessert...) I like a lip-puckering cocktail, preferably one with lime, cranberry or lemon as the base. A margarita isn't complete without a rim of salt that I can slowly work my way around - and if anyone would like to argue that that's not the classic manner, well, fine, I'll move onto a Mojito. That said, should a cocktail contain Absinthe my hand will be shooting up in a "Yes Please!" It's the romance, the brooding gothic qualities and the hint of danger that appeal to me. So, when I was reading Kate Spade's Occasions last night I couldn't contain my squeal of joy when I read of this cocktail - a deadly combo of my two favourite obsessions...
Ernest Hemingway's Death-In-The-Afternoon Cocktail
Invite a friend over.
Pour one jigger of absinthe into each champagne glass.
Fill with champagne.
Drink 3, 4, or 5 of these very slowly while discussing fly-fishing (or the 1920s art scene in Paris, which is my preferred option - surely by number 5 Toulouse Latrec will have joined you...)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Lately I've been revisiting some old movie favourites, and enjoying them immensely. The other week I happened upon Mermaids, and today, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I cannot make the smile on my face budge when I'm watching that film. Matthew Broderick is so lucky. No matter what he did he could just say, "Excuse me honey..." and pop on that DVD and Sarah Jessica would forgive him anything.
Maybe I need to accidentally catch a viewing of Pretty in Pink next... Or, Legally Blonde (yes, I realise that willing it to happen probably won't help - it's only upon being surprised by these films that I remain enchanted - deliberate viewing only results in disappointment)
Friday, September 12, 2008
I've never bought online before, but this little number from forever 21 might inspire me to. Admittedly I'd have to cut out the label, 'cause really, nothing would say "tragic mutton" more than a label stating "forever 21" but still, I'd chance it for those opiate-like poppies.
Earlier today I was awaiting coronation as Queen of Procrastination, but I decided that rather than wearing that tiara, I'd act instead. I decided to be my own boss and set to work for 45 minutes non-stop, and guess what? It worked. In that 45 minutes I wrote 750 words of a 1200 word article and it inspired me to keep going. At 11am I'd written 100 words, now, at 2pm I'm at 1150... and have organised the final interview I'll need to tidy the story up.
I've read about the timer method before, but never actually put in into practice, but it does work. It forces you to concentrate solely on the one task and knowing that there's an end in sight makes it easier to do what you have to do.
I feel better now...
Currently I'm vying for the title of Queen of Procrastination - seriously. I have much to do, and apparently, am incapable of actually doing it. It's not my hair, I washed it earlier. My study's in a relatively tidy state, so that's not the problem. Yes, the house could do with cleaning and tidying, but I'm meant to ignore that when I'm working. The headache I've had for the past two weeks isn't helping. Today it's only low-grade though, so I can't really blame that.
It's two minutes to 11am, so spot on the dot of 11 I'm going to put my head down and not move for 45 minutes - surely I'll achieve something in that time...
Shoe of the week has once again gone to Mr Marc Jacobs - I do love that man. How pretty would these be in a pale, petal pink? That said, they're like the LBD of the evening shoe world and would add a bit of vavoom to any outfit. Should someone suddenly decide to give me $700 US dollars I'd be insane not to buy them, non?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
At the end of our pool we're having a cabana and I'd like it to be all-white, and very, very inviting. I'm picturing a little something like this... but with a massive white chandelier in the centre (we've already bought it and it's been sitting next to our bed for, oh, 10 months now...) The roof will also be pitched and lined with boards - painted white... naturally.
I'd love really wide timber decking, which we'll either paint white, or leave to weather to grey. We'll also build in seating like this - with a day bed taking pride of place at one end. There may also be a retro bar, probably a 1940s chrome number that can be wheeled out as required to keep us refreshed. Can't you just see lazy nights around the pool in this?
I'm feeling all citrus-inspired at the moment - in cuisine and fashion.
Nary a food item isn't improved by a squeeze of citrus - meats, salads and vegies. I do admit that the zest of lemon and lime is a delightful addition to any meal. However, this spring I'd like to expand my repertoire and include the zest of mandarin, oranges and grapefruit to my meals. I do think I could even enjoy chicken breast if it were spiced up with grapefruit juice and zest with some sparkly white wine reduced to a jus, served with an olive and tomato salsa and with some chunks of feta cheese on the side.
Fashion wise I'm having an orange moment. My nails are a fabulous shade of tangelo, which is the perfect contrast for the green pedicure that's still hanging on weeks later (but only if I squint at it through my lashes, it's probably time for a re-do). I'm also waiting for the weather to heat up a touch more so I can bring out my tangerine dress - worn with a teeny green cardi. I think all I need now are some bright yellow plastic beads - which I bet I can find at my fave op-shop on Darby Street... A visit might be in order.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Why is it that everything expands to take up any extra space you allow it? For example, if I set aside three hours to clean the house, it takes three hours - but, should I dedicate five hours I'll still be beavering away four hours and fifty nine minutes into the task? It's the same with any pay rise. Even there'll be no discernible jump in my style of living (I don't go from using truffle oil to fresh truffles, or from Chandon to Moet et Chandon...) I'll still have zero dollars left at the end of the pay period.
The same applies to clothes. My wardrobe was overflowing, thanks to all my recent op-shopping success and I could not squish another thing in there. So, while we're waiting for built-ins, or some other suitably ginormous wardrobe for our bedroom, I swapped my pretty Art Noveau wardrobe space in our bedroom, with my husband who was using the twice-as-big built-in wardrobe in the study. Now, I thought I would be giving my clothes room to move and groove, but nooooooooo. Sure, they're not as squooshed as they were in the previous space, but it's still pretty squooshy in there. Perhaps I need to cull? Nah, I think I'll just have to speed up the arrival of the new, and suitably huge wardrobe in the bedroom.
My hair doesn't give me any superpowers, and yet, oddly, when it's in need of a wash it zaps me of all inspiration, creativity and energy.
When I was younger I had two odd 'phobias' (they weren't that bad - hence the quotation marks): the first was of spontaneous combustion. I'd seen a spooky show about it once and became quite obsessive about it - I even used to practice how I'd put myself out should I ever start to spontaneously combust. I now wonder what I may have achieved if that energy were expended elsewhere...
The second was felting. Now, apparently, in very rare cases, girls with long hair (such as myself) would wake in the morning and find that all their hair had fused together into one gigantic dreadlock - hence the term felting. Having naturally curly hair, that will tend to form dreads if unkempt for too long a period, I felt this was something I should be wary of. While I'm now over these irrational fears, obviously something's still lingering on in the felting category - which is why I have issues if I go longer than three days without washing my hair.
Anywho, it's now washed, smelling delightfully of Kevin Murphy's Angel Wash and Angel Rinse, has a bucketload of MOP's curl creme smooshed through and looks about as far from felting as hair could be. Guess that means I should actually get a move on and get some work done now.
Friday, September 05, 2008
I found this today. It's 52 meditations on life and the author chooses one each Sunday night to reflect on. Reading through the list helped me get a few things into perspective. Check it out and see what it does for you. www.marcandangel.com/2008/09/04/52-sunday-evening-meditations-on-life/ (I hope this link works for you - damned if I can get blogger to cut and paste anything!)
Sandwiches taste better when they're cut in triangles, preferably teeny, quarter-sized triangles. Buttered toast is at its zenith of awesomeness when sliced into three to four toast soldiers. Carrots and zucchini should be in lovely, fine julienne strips or sliced on the diagonal. I prefer my tomato diced. Shredded chicken breast tastes better than chunks.
I've always said I wasn't fussy about my food, but reading the above, well, some revisiting of that attitude is in order.
As an adult, a real, proper grown-up, there's nary an opportunity for dancing and I love, love, love to dance. I flicked onto an old episode of Friends last night and there they were, dancing away at a college party... Sigh, I miss parties. So now I'm plotting and planning a way to get dancing. I could take lessons, but the chances of roping my husband in are, good grief, impossible. So that'd mean solo dancing and I don't think they offer "Abandoned dancing to hits of your teens and early twenties" at the local academy.
My netball team is planning a night out at the end of this season, and rather than just a sedate dinner on a weeknight I'm going to highjack it and organise cocktails and dancing on a weekend - I've got some pretty fun gals in my team who'd be up for it. Now, to find a club where I won't feel like everyone's grandma...
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I love having people over to dinner - but I don't like serving up the same thing twice. I adore experimenting, trying out new things, and surprising my friends. If it fails, well, there's always champagne to wash it down! However, I have always found it difficult to remember exactly what I served, to whom, and when. So I decided to write it all down.
When we moved from Sydney, my mother's group gave me a pretty Visitor's Book, with red tulips on the cover. It was sweet, but, realistically, who's going to ask their friend to sign a book when they've just popped in for a cup of coffee. So I decided to use it to note down what I cooked and when. Our friends each have a page, and I write down any nibbles, drinks, main course and sides, along with the pudding. It's great for jotting my memory now - and in years to come, to provide memories of great nights, good food and fabulous friends.
In my "trying something completely different" mood I cooked up dinner with a difference. I'd bought some yummy looking pork cutlets from the butcher and decided to frock them up with some crumbs... Oh, baby... I grated up some wholemeal bread, then some parmesan, then some lemon zest and seasoned it all with cracked black pepper and a smoosh of Maldon salt. I pounded out the pork a little flatter than it used to be (with a wooden rolling pin, I don't have a meat mallet) and dipped them in beaten egg, followed by pressing them into the combined crumb mixture. I shallow-fried them in olive oil till golden brown then popped them in a 160 degree oven to cook to medium rare. A squeeze of lemon juice over the top made them crunchy, munchy and utterly delish.
Now, while I may not be having an actual affair with my butcher like the maid on the Brady Bunch, I have found something to love. Because I was never a boy scout (obviously) or a girl guide (o... well, we didn't have them in my neck of the woods) tying knots is not my forté. However, because I'm making roast beef wrapped in prosciutto tomorrow night, some bondage of the butchering kind is in order. So today, when I bought my pork cutlets, I asked if my butcher could show me how to truss up my beef and he agreed... but only if I didn't spill his secrets... so, apart from you guys, my lips are sealed...
Allow me to introduce you to a saucy summer shoe. It's from Nine West and is a damn fine compromise to the white pump (which, despite Sarah Jessica wearing in the latter seasons of SATC I never quite warmed to). This, however, this is a laudably sexay shoe. I can just see it heading off to lunch with the girls, spiced up with fishnets for night or... wait for it... with my new tangerine summer frock. Must stop, have palpitations...
It's kind of ironic that I was a vegetarian for 20 years and yet am a bit daft when it comes to vegetables. See, I've always been a bit of a one-pot-cook and side dishes have always left me a little bemused. But I'm trying to improve. Tomorrow night I'm going to be adventurous and try a vegie I've never cooked before. I'm not sure what, or how, but I will.
I'm doing a roast beef, and I'm going to give it a lovely massage with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and Italian parsley before wrapping it in proscuitto and baking it. I'll roast some cubes of potato, pumpkin and beetroot in duck fat to serve alongside, but I want something else... Ideas? We're just coming into spring in Australia, so I'd like something light-ish and maybe green-ish. I do also intend on starting a jus around lunchtime. I'm going to buy a really robust red and reduce it till it's a sticky syrup (oh, no, mouth watering... must go grab a glass of water)
Sometimes you'll find a pair of shoes that you're completely smitten with. They'll work with so many outfits, always make you smile every time you look down and will feel like you're wearing satin slippers. I have a pair of these. They're red and white wedges with a slender cork heel. They're perfectly balanced and look fabulous with jeans or a skirt. I adore them.
Imagine my heartbreak when I realised that I'd left them behind when we were travelling in France. After backtracking for a few weeks I worked out that I'd left them in a gorgeous B&B in the Loire Valley so I emailed, and yes, there they were. Of course, I couldn't just drive back to the Loire Valley from Paris, so I had to wait till we came back to Australia to organise their return. Twasn't easy. I needed to organise postage, transfer the funds for the postage (in Euros) to the owners and wait. Six weeks and a bucketload of euros later (I'll give you a hint, it cost almost as much as the shoes cost me to start with - and they weren't cheap!) my shoes came home. I love those shoes.
Now, before I worked out where I left them, I bought a rebound pair of shoes in Paris. I thought I'd lost my beloved wedges, so when I saw a 'similar' pair, I rushed in and bought them. However, while these were cute, they weren't as versatile as my others. For a start, they were bright pink snakeskin and the heels were typically wide wedges, not the delicate slenderness of my faves. I've worn them a few times, but couldn't think of anything to do my rebound shoes justice. Until today...
Yesterday I visited my favourite op-shop near work and bought a dress that makes my complexion sing. It's bright tangerine and is the perfect summer frock. I also bought a sky blue seventies belt to wear with it and was trying to think of the perfect shoes. Hello, welcome back rebound shoes. I'm going to welcome spring with a bright, happy wardrobe and this outfit is going to do it. Pink and orange are two of my most adored combos, so now, my rebound shoes won't feel so neglected... they were just waiting for the perfect match.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Driving home tonight my glance was accosted by a sign outside a church. Now, I'll always stop to read these. Regardless of the denomination, I'll always find something to muse over. But tonight's, well, I didn't muse - I fumed. It read "Learn from other people's mistakes, life's too short to make your own". Balderdash. Who is so perfect that they never make mistakes? Also, someone else's mistake might be another's surprise joy.
I've made bucketloads of mistakes, and I'll continue to make more. If you don't make a mistake it's because you haven't taken a risk. I want to look back on my life and not regret anything, not one thing. While there are some things that I'd prefer not to have done, guys I'd have preferred not to date, words that should have remained unsaid... I've learned from all of them.
If I didn't date a string of unsuitable dudes I wouldn't have recognised the quiet beauty of my husband - a man who compliments me and makes me glad to wake every morning. If I didn't make mistakes in my work I wouldn't try so hard to improve on what I'd done. If I hadn't had fall outs with friends it wouldn't make me appreciate those I do have.
Mistakes aren't to be feared - they're to be embraced, accepted and acted upon.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Once upon a time I believed I had a shocking memory. Hideous. Faces, I'd never forget, but names? I'd never recall - people were Sweetie, Hon, Doll or... nothing at all. Then I interviewed a memory expert for a story on recall and her first piece of advice was "Never, ever say, 'oh, I've got a terrible memory' or 'I won't remember this' because then you're giving yourself permission to fail." Since then, I've been positive about my memory and it's, oh, I reckon about 1000 times better. I've also devised a trick for remembering names. None of the old tricks worked for me, so here's mine to share with you.
Whenever I'm introduced to someone I'll picture someone else with the same name just over their shoulder. This way, I'm using my excellent recall of faces to help with names. Whether it's a famous person, or just another friend with the same name this works magnificently. Just after implementing it I went to a function where I met 20 new people at once - normally my worst nightmare. Now, I know this sounds highly suspect, but I actually remembered every single name.
Remembering names is quite possibly one of the most polite acts you can perform - and I do love me some manners.
If I were to become a tradey - I'd want to be a bricklayer. Those dudes work fast. We had two bricklayers here at 7am and they left at 9am after building a five metre retaining wall in the courtyard. Now those walls are up we've got the other guys coming back soon to start the metal framework for the pool. With spring well and truly on the calendar it's nice to think we'll be swimming in our backyard sometime this summer.
For most of my life I loathed having my photo taken. When I was a wee twig of a teenager I couldn't bear having my pic snapped 'cause I thought I looked "fat". Oh, how I wish I could travel back in time and have a word to that girl...
Two years ago I was at a work function when one of the columnists for our publication said to the Beauty Editor, "How come all your photos look beautiful and I'm lucky to get one decent shot of myself?" and she replied, "Because I like having my photo taken." Now this was a revelation. How could anyone possibly like having their photo taken? But I must say that I've been trying it out and it seems to work.
See, the thing is, when you're frantically posing, trying not to have a double chin, pokey out tummy or wonky eyes chances are the photo gods will snicker at you and ensure that not only will you have all of these in the resulting shot - but other things you never even knew you had. So now, I turn at an angle to the camera (not in a Mariah Carey way, that's obsessive) and smile like the camera's my friend. And you know what? The photos don't look half bad. They look like me, and isn't that the point?
I'm attending a funeral today. The funeral of a lovely, funny, charismatic man who touched the life of all who met him. A skilled football player, coach and all round gorgeous bloke. He finally lost his battle with cancer last week and is at peace and free of pain.
My thoughts are with his adoring wife, who was blessed with a soulmate who shared her dreams, ideals and life, and with his two beautiful children. Bob Mountford, you're fondly remembered. Your infectious laughter, charm and wit will live on. May you rest in peace.
Monday, September 01, 2008
When it comes to keeping a tidy and clutter-free home there are some things that just get moved from one surface to another. I'm over that. As today is the first day of spring - and subsequently the perfect time for spring cleaning - these things are outta here. Case in point. Last year, for my birthday party we filled pale pink party bags 1/4 full with gravel and then popped tea lights in, lit them, and dotted them along the front path and up the stairs to the front door. Pretty. Well, over the past year I have managed to transfer the gravel from all the bags into one bag, and this bag has been moved from one spot in the study to another. Why? Because it's a sin to throw out something good.
Today I'm taking action. That teeny white gravel is going to top my pink and white geranium in my pink with white polka dots pot on the front veranda, and the bag? In the recycling. If it doesn't have a purpose, doesn't add to our life, or have an immediate use I'm being ruthless and moving stuff out of here. Right now. That's my spring action plan.
Last night I'd had enough of my messy study. Other rooms were looking good, which of course meant that all the clutter was accumulating in my study. Because I work from home three (to five) days a week I need to be able to concentrate, and teetering piles of clutter were distracting me. So I got in late last night and decluttered, tidied and cleaned and boy, what a difference. I now have space - and surfaces! All I need now is a fresh bunch of jasmine for my desk and a productive day is in order - just in time for the first day of spring.